By offering its own marketplace for customers to purchase the streaming video, Paramount’s parent company Viacom is essentially cutting out “middlemen” services like Netflix, Vudu and others — meaning it takes a bigger cut of the overall revenue.
Viacom is obviously keeping quiet about the experiment. It sent out an e-mail blast Friday (via Viacom-owned MTV’s mailing list) promoting the streaming site for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Potential consumers have the option of renting a standard version of the film for $3.99, while Windows users can rent an HD version for $4.99. The movie is available to watch for 48-hours after purchasing.
My guess is that this particular film isn’t going to change the way movies are distributed. It seems like a poor approach because it’s unlikely that many people — those who would spend $4.99 on a digital rental — won’t realize the site is up. Therefore, those same people will either rely on existing services like Vudu and iTunes and/or obtain it illegally.
We’ve reached out to Viacom for comment about the company’s strategy and will update the post with any new comments.